Marine Le Pen: 10 things to know

Raised in the shadows of her fascist, anti-Semitic father, the National Front party's Marine Le Pen may be on the verge of a historic win in the upcoming French presidential elections on May 7.

Photo by: (AFP)
Photo by: (AFP)

"Far right with a human face" is how French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy described Marine Le Pen in 2010.

Daughter to a notorious Holocaust-denying father, Marine Le Pen has said that the far-right National Front is no longer the fascist anti-Semitic organisation it once was. 


The polls certainly show that many seem to agree – as she inches closer to becoming France’s first female president of the French republic.


Despite claims of Le Pen creating a new version of the National Front, she is advocating the destruction of the European Union, preaching strong anti-immigration policies as well as attacking Muslims and comparing their presence in France to the Nazi occupation. At the same time her controversial father, Jean-Marie le Pen, remains honorary president of the party he founded in 1972.


Marine Le Pen has been through two divorces and is the mother of three. She said that Catholics would not vote for her because of her divorces.

“The Catholics will never like me because of my divorces” 

Marine Le Pen


Marine Le Pen lived and worked for most of her life with her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, known for his racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric. 

For example, her father had once said that the holocaust is nothing but a small detail in World War II – and that he himself did not see any gas chambers.

“I'm not saying that the gas chambers didn't exist. But I couldn't see them myself”

Jean-Marie Le Pen


Marine Le Pen took over her father's party in 2011. But she fell out with him publicly over his derogatory comments about Jews in World War II, and expelled him from the party.


Unlike her father, Marine Le Pen had stated that the Holocaust was the "height of barbary." Meanwhile, her father the founder of the National Front accused her of making the party too conventional.

""There is no one in the leadership of the National Front who defends this kind of thesis"

Marine Le Pen

Marine’s father, Jean Marie Le Pen, remains the honorary president of the National Front Party to this day.

“Algeria was still a part of Metropolitan France before it attained independence”

Jean Marie Le Pen

The presidential hopeful still shares her father's anti-immigration views. Le Pen has proposed slashing legal immigration from 200,000 to 10,000 entrants per year in France.  She has also stated that immigrant access to public services should be limited.

“Immigration is an organised replacement of our population. This threatens our very survival.”  

Marine Le Pen

Le Pen has promised to "destroy" the European Union. She has proposed a nationwide referendum which would decide the future of a “Frexit’ from Europe.

“I want to destroy the EU, not Europe! I believe in a Europe of nation-states.”

Marine Le Pen


Le Pen is also an admirer or Russia Vladimir Putin. She said that she would pursue closer ties with Russia and has been heavily criticised for taking a loan from a Russian bank during her campaign.

“I have a certain admiration for Vladimir Putin because he doesn't allow decisions to be forced upon him by other countries”

Marine Le Pen

An ardent critic of globalisation and a strong supporter of political isolationism and economic nationalism, Le Pen has supported France's exit from NATO and the reinstatement of French Francs as a national currency.

“Wild globalisation has benefited some, but it's been a catastrophe for most.”

Marine Le Pen

After the US presidential elections, she stated that Donald Trump’s win in America would help her achieves these objectives.

 Le Pen has compared Muslims practising their religion in France to the ‘Nazi’ occupation of France.

“The progressive Islamisation of our country and the increase in political-religious demands are calling into question the survival of our civilisation.”

Marine Le Pen

Le Pen has stated that she is against Muslim women wearing headscarves in public places, stating that "this is not France."

“France isn't burkinis on the beach. France is Brigitte Bardot. That's France.”

Marine Le Pen


Marine Le Pen finished second in the first round of presidential elections, with 21.3 percent, behind front runner Emmanuel Macron, who won 24 percent.

Positioning herself as the champion of blue-collar France, Le Pen has been successful in rallying support from lower-income citizens who fear the liberalisation of the labour market. 

But will Le Pen’s polarising statements become a key catalyst that propels her towards power? Or will they result in a second failed presidential bid for Jean Marie Le Pen’s daughter?

TRTWorld and agencies